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Best Micro Drone

Today’s drone market is filled with a wide range of quadcopters of different sizes, shapes, and dimensions. And sure, while many hype up the larger, more professional flagship models, there’s plenty of fun to be had elsewhere. And micro drones, the smallest sub-category around, are a special breed and a highly useful one at that.

These ultra-small palm-sized devices bring the technical agility of larger drones into a simpler and smaller form factor. And their size makes them the ideal option for testing the waters indoors safely while sharpening your piloting skills. And this fact, along with their modest price point, makes them the perfect entry-level option for new pilots or kids wanting to explore. Yet, the best models also offer some serious excitement at a fraction of the price.

And they’re now quite sophisticated and competitive, too, given recent advancements in this space. So much so, they’re an excellent pastime for adults wanting to fly indoors on rainy days. So it’s no surprise to see them gradually gaining in popularity all around. But, as simple as they appear to be initially, there’s more than meets the eye in selecting the right device. And you’ll end up wanting to consider many, if not all, of the same factors as larger professional drones. So to aid in that quest, we’ve compiled a detailed guide outlining all of the factors to consider beforehand. And we’ll also cover the best micro drones on the present market.

DJI-Tello
DJI Tello

    Flight Time:
    13 minutes

    Extra Batteries:
    No

Check Price
Hubsan-X4-H107LHubsan X4

    Flight Time:
    6-8 minutes

    Extra Batteries:
    No

Check Price
Potensic-A20WPotensic A20W

    Flight Time:
    7 minutes

    Extra Batteries:
    Yes

Check Price
SNAPTAIN-H823HSNAPTAIN H823H

    Flight Time:
    7 minutes

    Extra Batteries:
    Yes

Check Price
Holy-Stone-HS210-Mini-Indoor-DroneHoly Stone HS210

    Flight Time:
    7 minutes

    Extra Batteries:
    Yes

Check Price

5 – Holy Stone HS210

Holy-Stone-HS210-Mini-Indoor-Drone

Recommended Age: 14+ or 4+ with supervision

Registration Required: No

Holy Stone’s HS210 is the second smallest option they offer but a solid entry into this space.

It ships with an included RC controller with a one-key landing and immediate access to the 3D flips. Even so, the device itself offers auto hovering and altitude hold functionality, letting it maintain a stable position in the air at a fixed height. But, it’s also supremely responsive and agile in the air, with three flight modes to tailor its performance. Thankfully, it has an emergency stop feature that stops the motors immediately following a collision to prevent injuries or damages. Other features include the Headless Mode, Toss to Launch, propeller guards, and two extra batteries.

Overall, Holy Stone’s HS210 is an excellent entry into this space and a perfect suit for beginner pilots.

 

 

4 – SNAPTAIN H823H

SNAPTAIN-H823H

Recommended Age: 14+ or 4+ with supervision

Registration Required: No

The H823H is SNAPTAIN’s mid-range micro drone.

At 240g, it’s on the heavier side compared to other tiny whoop-style drones. However, its added size makes it supremely stable in the air, and it’s still palm-sized nonetheless. With this update Snaptain’s added a full outer enclosure of the propellers, staving off any damages or possible injuries. But it maintains altitude hold functionality to deliver stable hovering along with three adjustable flight speeds and outstanding responsiveness. Other features include 360º flips, the Headless Mode, one-key return, replacement propellers, and two extra batteries.

Overall, Snaptain’s H823H is an excellent option for enthusiasts wanting a more responsive flying experience.

 

 

3 – Potensic A20W

Potensic-A20W

Recommended Age: 14+ or 4+ with supervision

Registration Required: No

Potensic’s A20W comes to market to refine their popular A20 micro drone with better functionality.

Unlike the original A20, the A20W adds a 720p HD camera that captures stills and video at 480p resolution. And it connects wirelessly through the Potensic app, available for iOS and Android. There, you’ll fly the device using your phone as the monitor with the included RC. The A20W also comes equipped with a tough outer shell and propeller guards, staving off damages and preventing injuries. But, crucially, it has a barometer, yielding altitude hold functionality, and added in-air stability. Potensic has also capitalized on this addition by adding the waypoint Path Flight Mode. And this lets you fly a preset route across the map via the app. Other features include one-key take-off, the Gravity Sensor Mode, the Headless Mode, replacement propellers, and two extra batteries.

Overall, Potensic’s A20W comes to market as a substantial improvement over their already popular A20. And it brings better functionality, FPV support, and replaceable batteries to the line.

 

 

2 – Hubsan X4

Hubsan-X4-H107L

Recommended Age: 14+ or 4+ with supervision

Registration Required: No

Hubsan’s X4 is their long-standing micro range and one setting several benchmarks since its original debut. It’s also one of the company’s best selling and most popular models.

With this latest update, they’ve added 4 LED lights to give the quad a more aggressive look. But, it also helps when flying at night. The X4, like its predecessor, comes equipped with a 6-axis flight control system and uses a lightweight housing. But, the flight control system now has programmable sensitivity. And this functionality gives pilots better in-air stability, with surprising acceleration, handling, and speed. Thankfully, there are two flight modes to tailor its performance to your skill level. But, the Expert mode is what unlocks its agility along with its 4-way flips. Other features include propeller guards and replacement propellers.

Overall, Hubsan’s X4 is an excellent choice for newcomers wanting to refine their piloting skills with above-average power and agility.

 

 

1 – DJI Tello

DJI-Tello

Recommended Age: 14+ or 4+ with supervision

Registration Required: No

The Tello by Ryze Tech is a partnership release with the tech giant DJI. And it’s a release aimed to be both educational and fun.

The Tello features a camera that produces 5MP images and 720p 30 FPS videos with electronic stabilization. It connects wirelessly through the Tello app, available for iOS and Android. There you can program Tello using Scratch 3.0 developed by MIT to perform flips or other maneuvers. And this functionality becomes a standout amongst the crowd, as it encourages pilots to develop their programming and coding skills. And it’s a key reason Tello is a hit amongst the STEM crowd. Even so, it’s a capable flier too. Not only can it perform flips and stunts like rivals, but it also hits a top speed of 18 mph, great to up the adrenaline and flying outdoors. Other features include intelligent flight modes, VR compatibility, one-key take-off, vision positioning, and propeller guards.

Overall, the Ryze Tech Tello is a powerful all-rounder with added educational value, something surely missing from the competition. And it’s an excellent means to get started, and an affordable one at that.

 

 

Micro Drones Buyers Guide

There are many factors to consider when looking at micro drones. Many of which are the same factors as larger, more professional-level drones. Let’s cover each now.

Mini vs. Micro Drones

The main difference between a mini and micro device is their size, which determines much of their design and feature set. And this subdivision was first popularized by Tiny Whoop, with their Nano range. Mini devices are pocket-sized and generally have 3-inch or larger propellers, with a frame ranging from 100-150mm, and weigh closer to 250g. Micro devices, however, are palm-sized and have smaller propellers, with a frame from 50-75mm, and weigh closer to 100g.

With this configuration, they’re ideally suited for flying indoors. And you’ll have far more flexibility in doing so than flying with a mini drone. But, the downside is that they’re too lightweight for flying outdoors, especially against the wind. And their smaller size means less room for powerful motors, batteries, and, often, a camera. Even so, they have several advantages. Namely, their smaller rotors mean fewer chances of harm or damage during a crash. They’re also much easier to fly, given their simplistic design, and easier to replace, if need be.

Age

You also want to factor in your child’s age if you purchase the device as a gift. Most manufacturers in this space target their models at ages 14 and up. And that age rating is referring to unsupervised flying. But, younger kids, say ages four and up, can fly these devices with a bit of practice and supervision.

Frame Material

You can find these devices using either metal and plastic frames. And the material used will largely determine their durability and likelihood to survive impacts. Most would suggest opting for devices with metal frames, when possible, as they’re more resistant to damages during a crash. But, most of the budget options in this space use plastic frames, as they’re more affordable. But, beware. They may crack during a collision and cause irreparable damage. And that’s the trade-off.

Durability

The durability of these products is a combination of their shape, frame material, and the design of the rotors. And these devices will likely take many impacts over their lifespan since most lack advanced GPS functionality. So durability is key. Unfortunately, the quality control in this regard varies substantially. So it’s a good idea to look for devices with a low-profile design and ample structural support around the edges. Or, at a minimum, investigate reviews beforehand.

Propeller Guards

These are a helpful accessory that’ll help stave off damages. Some manufacturers include a complete set of them with purchase. But, if they don’t, it’s wise to purchase a set, as they’ll help soak up damages during impact and protect the motors, significantly improving the long-term durability. They’ll also make the device safer and help prevent any injuries.

Battery Life & Flight time

Most of these devices only offer a battery life ready for 5-10 minutes of flight, even less so if you do stunts. So look for options with rechargeable batteries via USB, or even better, fully interchangeable batteries. But, considering the average recharging time is 30 minutes, getting a spare is wise.

Control Range

Most of these devices offer a maximum control range between 30-60m (100-200 ft). And this range is sufficient for most indoor locations. But, if you have a huge space, such as a hall or ballroom, then the range here will become a limitation. So if that’s an area you’ll find it frequently in, it’s wise to look for a device with a larger range.

Replacement Parts

You may also want to look for devices with replacement parts so you can quickly change out damages to avoid replacing the entire unit itself. But not every manufacturer in this space offers replacement parts, as some components are fundamental to the design itself. And those parts won’t be directly replaceable. Even so, you can also find additional propellers and guards for most products. And those are likely the parts that’ll take the most damages.

Camera Setup

You can find some devices offering a built-in camera to capture the experience. Granted, it’s not a feature common to all products in this space. But, if you’re interested in recording the flight or flying with a first-person view, then opting for models with a built-in camera is best. Just know models with a camera will have lower flight times than those without them since they increase the power load and add extra weight. And they will only offer modest photo and video abilities.

Controller

Most manufacturers ship these devices with an included controller. But, you can find some models that are handled using a smartphone. While smartphone controllers are more convenient, they don’t offer long transmission ranges. And that could be a problem when flying in a large space with pillars or other enormous obstacles. Thankfully, dedicated controllers don’t suffer from signal loss as easily, and they also have direct analog feedback. They’re also the standard across professional drones, which would make the transition to these products easier. So it’s something to consider.

Beginner flight modes

You can find many of these devices with beginner-friendly flight modes like altitude hold and a headless mode. Altitude hold ensures the drone remains stable in the air and prevents it from sporadically changing altitude. The headless mode simplifies the control layout and removes the inverted control scheme when piloting back towards the controller. Both of these are great options to make flying the drone easier for new pilots. And it’s a good idea to ensure the device you’re considering has these options.